How To Keep Styrofoam Tombstones In The Ground

If you have ever tried to put up store-bought styrofoam gravestones in your yard for Halloween, you know that the little plastic stakes they come with just don’t cut it. The first little bit of wind and they all blow over. I finally found out how to keep styrofoam tombstones in the ground with a hack using wire shelving and some mesh ribbon. And it really works!

How To Keep Styrofoam Tombstones In The Ground

How to Stake Halloween Tombstones

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Every year for Halloween I put up a graveyard in my front yard.

Over the years I have collected quite a few styrofoam gravestones that I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with.

I love them because they are inexpensive, pretty realistic-looking given how cheap they are, and easy to move around.

The one thing that is really annoying about them is that they don’t stay standing. They usually come with these 2″ plastic stakes that are just not long enough or sturdy enough to withstand even a little bit of wind.

Since my graveyard is usually up for the whole month of October, I need something that will stand up through all kinds of weather.

A couple of years ago, I got a suggestion from a reader for using mesh ribbon around the gravestones to hold them onto posts.

She said that you couldn’t really see the mesh ribbon against the tombstones and it’s wide enough to hold them in place. Which was an idea I had to try…and then I had an ah-ha moment!

But first a little back story.

As some of you may know, I live in a builder-grade house.

That means all of my closets came with those white wire closet organizers and shelves.

I really hate those shelves. So I replaced them all with proper shelving.

Which left a whole pile of leftover wire shelves in the garage.

I am always looking for ways to use them up…which leads me back to my ah-ha moment.

I could place those wire shelves behind the tombstones. The wide shelves would help to reinforce the styrofoam.

Then hammer the ends of the shelves into the ground like stakes to make them stand up straight, and use the mesh ribbon to secure the tombstones to the wires.

And guess what? It works!

Keep reading to get all the details on how to keep styrofoam tombstones in the ground.




How To Secure Halloween Tombstones

Step 1 | Figure Out The Support Height

The first step is to figure out how tall your wire shelf tombstone supports need to be.

You want them to come at least a third of the way up the back of the tombstone to provide the best reinforcement.

Then you need an extra 3 or 4 inches that will be hammered into the ground.

So if you have a 24 inch tall gravestone, your shelf support will need to be at least 12 inches high.

Step 2 | Cut The Wire Shelving

Wire shelf tombstone support

The next step is to use a jig saw with a metal blade to cut the wire shelving. You could also use a hack saw, but I’m lazy so I go for the power tools 🙂

First cut the shelf to the height that you figured out about.

Then you’ll need to remove a few of the inner shelf wires.

This will leave some longer side wires that will be hammered into the ground like stakes.

Wire cutters cutting the wire shelving for the Halloween gravestone stake

If you have strong hands, you can use wire snips for this part.

Step 3 | Paint The Shelving

Wire shelving spray painted black

Spray paint the wire shelves black or gray so that they aren’t so visible in your yard. (The white will stick out like a sore thumb!)

Step 4 | Hammer the Shelf Support Into The Ground

Wire shelving being used as a Halloween tombstone stake in the ground

Figure out where you want your tombstones to go.

Then hammer the shelves into the ground in those locations with the long side wires facing down.

Step 5 | Attach the Mesh Ribbon

Mesh ribbon tied to the Halloween gravestone support

Cut a piece of the mesh ribbon that is long enough to wrap all the way around the tombstone.

Tie the mesh ribbon onto one of the shelf support wires.

Then wrap it around the front of the tombstone making sure to spread the mesh out so that it covers as wide an area as possible.

The styrofoam tombstone standing up after being staked

Tie the other end of the mesh ribbon to the wire shelving, making sure to pull it tight enough that the gravestone isn’t moving (but not so tight that the styrofoam gets cut).

Cut off any excess ribbon.

The Halloween tombstone after being secured with the stake

And my reader was right, you really can’t see the mesh.

Halloween tombstone staked securely with a skeleton attached to the back of it

That’s it! Your Halloween tombstone is now secure!

The tombstone is even stable enough to put stuff on…like my little skeleton. (I used picture wire to attach him to the back of the tombstone so that he would stay standing).

Other Halloween Ideas You Might Like

Have comments or questions on how to keep styrofoam tombstones in the ground? Tell us in the section below.

This post was originally published on August 13, 2019 but was updated with new content on November 1, 2023.

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  1. It’s really not that hard to keep them in the ground. I use s’more sticks and black gorilla tape on the back and it keeps them in. I have a lot of grave stones and wicked weather and never lost one doing this yet

    1. Wanda Simone says:

      Thanks for the suggestion, Jennifer! We have really hard clay soil here so both plastic and wood sticks break rather than going in the ground (which is why I have resorted to using metal). And I find that tape doesn’t stick very well to a lot of my grave stones. But if it’s working for you, that’s great!

  2. I have fought with the styrofoam headstones for years. This year, I decided it was time to win the battle. I tried hot glue, but the wind pulled the headstones off the bricks (not a strong bond). So… My latest attempt, which I think will WORK is this… I punch a tiny hole in the headstone with a plastic zip tie (my ties weren’t very long, so I connected two together) and zip tied the headstones to bricks. I happen to have a bunch of bricks at home from a previous owner, so this is what was handy. I suspect you could zip tie these things to anything that has some weight to it. I am going to log this as a win.

    1. Wanda Simone says:

      Thanks for the idea, AJ! That sounds like it just might work 🙂

    2. Kate Thompson says:

      Except the wind will blow them back and forth making the hole with the ziptie bigger and bigger, at least that was my problem

  3. Christen Britton says:

    I have fake grass with hard ground underneath. Last year I hot glue gunned tall soup cans to the back of my tombstones it worked pretty well but I too would love more ideas for those of us who can’t stake into the ground! Thanks in advance

  4. Sherrie Richard says:

    I use plastic or metal tunbing on back attach with construction adhesive put rebarr 2 foot stakes In ground and just pop over top I live inalberta so rain nor snow or wind takes them away

    1. Wanda Simone says:

      Thanks for the suggestion, Sherrie! That sounds like it would be very sturdy 🙂

    2. Angela Pierce says:

      I did that this year and it worked great until the styrofoam ripped off of the glue holding it to the pipes (I use black pvc). I tried every kind of adhesive I could find. What adhesive did you use if I may ask?

  5. We super glue 2 litter of soda to the back of the Styrofoam Tombstone.

    1. Wanda Simone says:

      Thanks for the tip, Kelly!

  6. I drilled two holes in the bottom of my tombstones and use a zip tie through those holes to secure them to a short piece of 1 inch pvc I hammered into the ground.

    1. Wanda Simone says:

      Thanks for the suggestion, Carissa! That’s a great idea!